Ew! Beauty: Corns And Bunions

Illustrated by Jihyang Lim.

Sandal season is upon us

Let’s face it: Along with summer’s heat, humidity, and other sweat-inducing qualities comes a ton of gross beauty problems. From dry, cracked feet to ingrown hairs and chafing, there’s a lot that can hold you back from living the confident poolside life you’re destined to lead. But don’t worry—we’re talking to experts about how to fix them. Welcome to Ew! Beauty.

Unlike our hands or our faces, our feet often don’t get the attention they deserve—likely because they’re usually out of sight, out of mind for half the year. But sandal season is officially here, and now that it’s hopefully sticking around for the long haul, we thought it was time to talk about a condition that plagues more women than you probably think: bunions and corns. Yes, we’re going there and, no, it’s not a condition that only affects grandmothers. Here's what you need to know.

What they are
Corns are calluses (or a thickening of skin) that form, most commonly, on the outside of your tiny toe or wherever bony prominences are present. Don’t think too hard into the name, though, because the tiny protrusions don’t resemble the food so much as they do... little hard saucers. Sorry for that visual.

Bunions, on the other hand (foot?), are a different thing altogether. According to the Mayo Clinic, "a bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. The skin over the bunion might be red and sore."

How they develop
Corns are commonly caused from the bone pushing up against ill-fitting shoes that then put pressure on the skin. The toe develops that hard, callused layer as a way to protect itself. They can also develop as a secondary condition from a hammertoe, podiatrist Dr. Bobby Pourziaee explains, which is basically when, instead of your toe facing forward, it curls downward, making it more susceptible to rubbing up against shoes and causing that friction.

Hammertoes, and therefore corns, are typically hereditary and same goes for bunions. So, it’s completely fair to blame mom and dad for your feet woes in this case. Podiatrist and luxury footwear designer Dr. Joan Oloff says the condition forms more often in people who are flat-footed or whose arches have collapsed, those who have abnormal bone structure, or whose ligaments are excessively flexible.

Outside of getting new genes (just kidding), the most common method to prevent corns and bunions from forming or getting worse is shoe choice. “Be mindful of the footwear you wear, as it can play a significance in the progression of deformity,” Dr. Oloff says “Make an investment in your footwear, as it is also an investment in your long-term health.”

It’s important to note that though paying attention to the kinds of shoes you wear can help reduce bunions from progressing and getting worst, Dr. Oloff says, it won’t stop them from completely forming. “Bunions develop even in populations that never wear closed footwear,” she says. As we mentioned, they’re hereditary, so, she says, paying attention to the underlying structure and mechanics of your foot before they even start to develop is important. Both doctors point to custom orthotics, or foot inserts, as the most effective preventative measure.

“A custom orthotic used on a daily basis will stabilize the joints in the mid part of your foot, and, by doing that, it slows down the progression,” Dr. Pourziaee says. “It doesn’t change what you have, so if you’ve developed it to a certain point, it will stop it at that point.”

Bunions and corns, while inconvenient, are totally conditions you can live with, especially if you manage to control both in their beginning stages. But if the condition starts to worsen and veer into painful territory (or if you’re just not crazy about how your feet look with them, which we totally get), there are a couple of treatment options.

For corns in the early development stages (meaning not too thick or irritated), you can apply salicylic acid, soak your foot in warm water, and then use a pumice stone to rub off the calloused skin. If you are experiencing pain, Dr. Pourziaee says, you can assuage it with padding or even cortisone shots. There are also soft tissue stretching devices called Dynasplints which, he says, are “probably the best nonsurgical way to try to treat bunions or hammertoes.”

Otherwise, if you’re looking to rid your foot completely of your bunion or your overly thick and irritated corns, surgery is going to be your best bet. If your wallet allows, Dr. Oloff says, it definitely shouldn’t be discounted. “If surgery is the best solution, please do not avoid it. The techniques we have available today allow for minimal downtime or discomfort. There is no need to continue to suffer!” As always, though, consult a foot professional to find out the best option for your specific condition.

Photo by Jerritt Clark / Stringer / Getty Images.

She's been wonderfully honest about the ups and downs of her procedures

There is a good chance that, right now, Cardi B is wearing really something really tight. I'm not talking about one of the pieces from her Fashion Nova collection, either. Instead, she's probably cooing at baby Kulture while swaddled in a compression garment, a necessary part of the healing process after certain cosmetic surgery procedures.

As reported by E! News, Cardi B has had to cancel several performances after her doctor ordered her to rest and allow her body to recover following cosmetic surgery. A rep for Cardi explained to E! that "Cardi was overzealous in getting back to work" and that "her strenuous schedule has taken a toll on her body and she has been given strict doctor's orders to pull out of the rest of her performances in May." This followed an admission by Cardi herself, at the Beale Street Music Festival earlier this month, that she should have canceled her performance because moving too much would mess up her lipo.

Cardi's transparency about plastic surgery is nothing new for her. She has opened up in the past about her underground butt injections, including the financial pressure she felt and the risks she took to get them. She's been open about both of her breast augmentation procedures as well, most recently getting them redone after giving birth to her daughter. But Cardi's transparency about the ups and downs of plastic surgery is still rare amongst celebrities and is therefore refreshing.

And it's not just celebrities who keep quiet about these procedures. The first person I knew to get a butt augmentation was a friend from high school. We reconnected as adults, and I remember going to her apartment after her surgery, and seeing her pace the floor in her compression garment, since it was still too soon to sit and put pressure on her backside. But even in the comfort of her own home, she seemed to speak in a hushed tone about having had the surgery. Before I'd arrived, she just told me she'd had a "medical procedure," and didn't say anything more. This has been the case for other women I've met who have gotten "work" done, including my aesthetician, a colleague who got a nose job, a darling YouTuber with whom I had the pleasure of having dinner; all of them would only acknowledge their enhancements in secret—the shame was palpable, and unfortunate. It's clear that women who get plastic surgery might be celebrated for the results, but there's an expectation that they should keep quiet about it, and feel bad for having made a choice about their own bodies.

So it's no surprise that, in the pop culture realm, people like Cardi are exceptions to the rule. Thanks to the internet, we can easily track the fullness of a celebrity's lips or backside over the course of time without them ever explicitly acknowledging the medical intervention that took place. And while people, of course, have the right to privacy, and should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies without offering explanations, it would still be nice if they opened up, if only to take away the attached stigma that affects so many people. Which is why I hope Cardi's willingness to lay it all out there becomes a trend. No one should have to harbor shame for investing in having a body that looks the way they want it to.

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

"In my head I thought, This is how it ends"

Kit Harington almost lost a lot more than the Iron Throne while filming the final season of Game of Thrones. According to an interview with NowThis News, the actor almost lost one of his balls while riding a mechanical dragon.

Harington revealed that the incident took place when he was filming the scene where his character, Jon Snow, takes a ride on Rhaegal for the first time in the Season 8 premiere. Since dragons aren't real (sorry), Harington was filming the scene, where Jon almost falls off the dragon and then swings around to pick himself back up, on a mechanical contraption.

"My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say, 'Stop,'" Harington said in an interview. "And I was being swung around. In my head I thought, This is how it ends. On this buck, swinging me around by my testicles, literally." We see shots of the fake dragon he's riding in front of a green screen, and it does look pretty terrifying.

Luckily, his testicles remained intact through the near-disastrous event, and he's survived with quite the story to tell to unsuspecting journalists.

Photo by Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for goop

"I had to create a harder shell about being a woman"

In a panel discussion during Gwyneth Paltrow's In Goop Health summit, actress Jessica Alba revealed that she "stopped eating" to avoid unwanted attention from men when she was first starting her career in Hollywood.

According to People, Alba said that she "had a curvy figure as a young girl" and, as such, was made to feel as though her body was the reason that men may be inappropriate toward her. "I was meant to feel ashamed if I tempted men," Alba said during the panel discussion. "Then I stopped eating a lot when I became an actress. I made myself look more like a boy so I wouldn't get as much attention. I went through a big tomboy phase."

She continued, "In Hollywood, you're really preyed upon. They see a young girl, and they just want to touch you inappropriately or talk to you inappropriately or think that they're allowed to be aggressive with you in a way."

Alba also noted that she was raised in a conservative household. "My mom would say, 'You have a body, and it's very womanly, and people don't understand that you're 12,'" she said. "I wasn't allowed to have my nalgas out, which is butt cheeks [in Spanish], but I was born with a giant booty, and they come out of everything. So, I didn't get to wear normal things that all my friends wore."

She said that these reactions to her body really affected her attitude. "I created this pretty insane 'don't fuck with me' [attitude]," she said. "I had to create a harder shell about being a woman."

According to her, her relationship to her body only changed when her first child, Honor, was born in 2008. "[After she was born,] I was like, Oh this is what these boobies are meant to do! Feed a kid!" she said. "And that was the dopest shit I'd ever done. So, I came into my body as a woman finally and I stopped being ashamed of myself."

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Photo courtesy of Teva

Because of course

Teva, the most obvious lesbian footwear brand since Birkenstock, really knows its customer base. In time for Pride, the brand has teamed up with Tegan and Sara for a gay shoe to end all gay shoes. In other words, your Pride footwear is on lock.

The shoe isn't just your average Teva sandal. Tegan and Sara's design, the Teva Flatform Universal Pride sandal, is a 2.5-inch platform shoe with a rainbow sole. Tegan and Sara noted in a press release that they have been Teva wearers for pretty much their whole lives. "We got our first pair of Teva sandals when we were 16," they said. "This rainbow Flatform collab is like full circle LGBTQ+ Pride validation."

What's better, with each sandal sale, Teva will donate $15 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, up to $30,000. The funds donated will go toward scholarships which will give young members of the LGBTQ+ community the chance to go to summer camps which will "help develop self-confidence and leadership abilities in a safe and nurturing environment." Tegan and Sara added, "Teva's generous support for our foundation will allow us to help even more LGBTQ+ youth."

Available today at Teva's and Nordstrom's websites, the sandal retails for $80.

Photo courtesy of Teva

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

"Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design"

Prada Group has announced that Prada, as well as all of its brands, will now be fur-free. According to a press release from the Humane Society, Prada, Miu Miu, Church's, and Car Shoe will ban the use of fur beginning with the Spring/Summer 2020 collection (aka the Fashion Week coming up next). The list of fashion designers banning fur only continues to grow, with 3.1 Phillip Lim, Coach, Armani, Versace, Gucci, and more having stopped using the material in seasons past.

"The Prada Group is committed to innovation and social responsibility, and our fur-free policy—reached following a positive dialogue with the Fur Free Alliance, in particular with LAV and the Humane Society of the United States—is an extension of that engagement," Miuccia Prada told the Human Society. "Focusing on innovative materials will allow the company to explore new boundaries of creative design while meeting the demand for ethical products."

Following London Fashion Week designers forgoing the use of fur in September and the first-ever Vegan Fashion Week taking place in February, it's easy to imagine an entirely fur-free fashion future. It's especially easy, I presume, for the brands to consider a fur-free future, given that entire cities and states are taking a stance. New York is following in the footsteps of Los Angeles banning fur, with a bill proposed this March that would ban sales across New York State.